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[Scene stealers] Well-rounded idols


Circle

By Ally

I read something on the Beanie wall a couple weeks ago about a friend of a Beanie being really harsh on idol-actors. The friend said something to the effect of, “They should just sing, dance, and entertain in that one capacity. They have no business acting or doing anything outside the very narrow profession of K-pop, even if they’re good at it.” I must admit, I kind of had this attitude at one time as well. This submission is borne out of that old attitude, and now I’m writing a defense of the crazy super talented idol-actors who steal every scene they grace.


The Lonely Shining Goblin

Yook Sung-jae started his career in the boy group BtoB in 2012, and has since been in several K-dramas, including my personal favorite, The Lonely Shining Goblin, playing the charismatic, immature nephew, Deok-hwa, and the (SPOILER ALERT) mysterious ultimate god toying with the lives of his immortals. I belly laughed every time he begged his “SAMCHOOON!” for his ever-elusive credit card, “CAARDAA!” His constant banmal teasing of Kim Shin to reveal the identity of Eun-tak was comical. I had to pick myself off the floor due to shock when it was revealed that he was the puppet master, the “butterfly god.” His irreverent behavior towards his elders never felt disrespectful or rude, but cheeky and endearing. Yook Sung-jae showed us his acting chops and despite acting opposite big names like Gong Yoo, Lee El, Kim Go-eun and Lee Dong-wook, he was never out-acted by his older counterparts. Not bad for “just” an idol actor, eh?


The Lonely Shining Goblin

Then there’s Kim Min-jae. Who didn’t love him as Nurse Park in Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim? There were so many standouts in that ensemble cast, but he brought an ardor and innocence to the character who became enchanted with a mysterious patient who later joins the hospital staff. I remember one scene in particular when he was confronting Do Im-bum, played by none other than the extremely talented Yang Se-jong, about Im-bum’s harsh treatment of the new medical student intern. His voice boomed over Yang Se-jong’s, and I was wondering who this kid was with the lovely baritone voice. I looked him up — as I do any actor that impresses me — and lo and behold, he’s an idol too? Well, not an idol per-se, but a rapper. That definitely explained the voice.

If that wasn’t enough, he was in Goblin which aired at the same time (how many scene-stealers were in that show?) as the younger version of Lee Dong-wook’s character. He acted opposite Kim So-hyun who got her start as a famed child actor and he was so good I couldn’t tell he hadn’t been acting all his damn life. I actually preferred the younger portrayals of the star-crossed, manipulated king and his young queen. He played the immature and jealous king with so much heart that I didn’t hate him, I really felt sorry for him. That in turn made Lee Dong-wook’s Reaper Kim that much more sympathetic.


Circle

No one may believe me, but I had no idea who Ki-kwang was before Circle. I think I may have rolled my eyes once or twice when I saw K-pop Beanies swooning over him on the recap. This show didn’t make me a fan of K-pop (no, that came much later), but it did put Ki-kwang, the actor, on the map for me. His performance as Ho-soo, the serious, straight-faced, straight-laced, drinker-of-the-Human-B-Kool-Aid, amnesiac was played so perfectly, I didn’t know he wasn’t an actor by trade. I usually laugh at amnesia tropes, but I actually cried during his heart-rending scene when he found his memories again. Playing opposite the entrancing Kim Kang-woo for most of the drama could have made him look small and inexperienced, but he stepped up and filled that role better than anyone I can imagine. His idol group Highlight is lucky to have him, and we’re lucky he’s stepped into acting.


Lookout

SHINee’s Key is just phenomenal, isn’t he? I know there is already a piece dedicated to him, but I couldn’t leave him out of this one. I loved his portrayal in Lookout as the skater-boi genius computer hacker. Everything about him was pitch perfect, from the kinky hair and devil-may-care attitude, to the sweet, shy infatuation he had with Kim Seul-gi’s character. Despite his relative inexperience, he never over-acted — which a less talented actor easily would have done. Instead Key played the part with a beautiful nuance. It was exactly what I wanted from him and I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing that character except him.


Because This Life Is Our First

I can’t forget Bomi of Apink in Because This Life Is Our First. This young girl, in an office full of men, held her ground, commanded respect, and never took any crap from anyone. But it was her low, hoarse voice that made her stand out, as well as how dead-pan and quirky she played “Bo-mi” in the show. While her skirts were oh-so-short, she never was seen as inappropriate or a sex object, unless she consciously decided to be (when she transformed into the nightclub dancer), and I attribute this to her strong character acting. I can see a long career for her as a character actress, and I’d watch any show just for her.

So why do we get so bent out of shape when an idol crosses over into acting? All of us have varied facets of our life. In my own life, I’ve been paid to be a musician, soldier, physician, educator, administrator, and hopefully, at some point, a writer as well. Performers perform. Entertainers entertain. Singers must connect their audience emotionally to the songs they sing in the same way actors must connect us viewers to the characters they become — quite a natural segue in actuality. I think of the old Hollywood “triple-threat” actors, who sang, danced, and acted (i.e. Danny Kaye, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, Judy Garland) as well as modern Broadway and movie stars (i.e. Kristen Chenoweth, Neil Patrick Harris, Hugh Jackman). No one faults them for not staying in their lanes. May we be so encouraging of those who dare to step out of their comfort zones and try something new, to grow as an individual, and to be successful doing it!


The Lonely Shining Goblin

 
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I'm so glad you wrote this @ally-le!

When I was considering the theme this month, my mind immediately went to Lee Ki-kwang also. I also didn't know he was an Idol and thought his performance in Circle was fantastic. I was tempted to jokingly try once again to get that elusive Circle post published finally! But in the end decided not to.

So glad you brought up what a scene stealer he was, especially in a drama with actors like Yeo Jin-goo.

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Our love for “Circle” knows no bounds! I’m sure I can write at least one more piece about it! I was so wholly impressed with GiKwang in this. It’s common for me to start watching a drama to see one actor and totally be enthralled with another. Gikwang was that for me in “Circle.”

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Thank you for writing this, @ally-le. I used to be extra cautious when praising idol-actor because many people judge them harshly solely for the fact that they are idols. But there are so many talented idol-actors out there that it would be nice if we can focused on what they are able to deliver instead of who they are.

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No Eun Jiiiii~!!!!? I guess she's a lead and not a scene stealer though haha.
But otherwise a very nice and tightly written piece! Love it.

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My same reaction at first.
But then I realize she is lead actress most of her projects, except for That winter the wind blows. :D

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I wish I could have your "I never knew he was an idol!" epiphanies, but I always know they are idols from following K-pop. For every one good idol-actor, there are a dozen idols who have no business acting and would have never been casted had they not been idols (Son Naeun). Then there are idols with breakout performances (Lee Hyeri in Reply 1988) who self-destruct in follow-up projects. Kim Min Jae is not an idol; he never debuted in CJ E&M.

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which one was Hyeri's self destruction?

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Hyeri in Hyde, Jekyll and Me is not her better performance

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That wasn't a follow-up drama cause it came before Reply 1988.

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Entertainer. And recently, Monstrum. As Deok Sun was written based on Hyeri, she is only good when she is playing herself.

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That's sort of true (I would say the ratio is more like 1 good to 2 bad), but pretty much the same could be said of actors in general. They're hired a lot of times because they're good-looking, eg Song Seung Heon before Black and Player, not so great at acting. I think Ally's point is that we shouldn't write them off just because we know that they're an idol.

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Kikwang!!! 😍😍😍 (yup you know i came here for him ☺😂😂)

@ally-le Thank you for writing this! Yup, with him in a few kdramas recently but still none of them turned me into a kpop fan. But i really look forward to his acting and future dramas.

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Of course you did! That’s a “click-bait” screencap if I ever saw one! You should see Dancing High! He’s so likable there (as if you needed another reason)! And you’re welcome! Now to make you into a Highlight fan...

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@ally-le You have to try harder to make me a fan 😜

*fans herself watching the crimson haired hottie in Loved ☺☺☺*

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@ally-le @delphy010 @natzillagorilla and @blnmom are we up to @ryunami's challenge? 😜

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🤣🤣🤣

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I suggest for a start to scroll through @wakimary and @ally-le ‘s fanwall, you know just for fun.

Then to watch this concert fancam of Loved.
https://youtu.be/GTFAQOxARw0

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@ryunami as a starter, please check this and ALL the videos here 🤭
http://www.dramabeans.com/members/wakimary/activity/604819/

and work your way through my fanwall 😁

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*fans herself with triple fans* ☺☺☺

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Thank you @wakimary & @ally-le these are super cool i love the Fiction team too 😍😍😍

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This is so true 👌🏿👌🏿 And I think some idols actually go to companies to become actors but are later told to be idols 🤷🏾‍♀️

The most important is talent and the emotion they can convey. Plus Deok-hwa was amazing in Goblin as the God 😁

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What a great post @ally-le! I used to be the same, I thought idols shouldn’t have been acting when most of them were awfully bad (I’m talking about era circa 2010). But the time has changed and nowadays there are so many idols who are really good in acting too.

Ki Kwang was definitely a scene stealer for me in Circle, I had no idea he wasn’t even an actor originally. But it was D.O. in Hello Monster (I remember You) who truly caught my attention. He was both charming and terrifying as a younger version of the villain and I was so surprised to find out he was an idol.

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Same! I didn’t even know he was an idol till about an Year later. D.O’s performances are amazing and he seems to pull off the dark yet puppy like characters so well.

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SAAAME! D.O. was amazeballs in I Remember You!

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Yes D.O!!!

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I never even listened nor followed EXO before seeing D.O. in It's Ok, That's Love. Actually, I also didn't know that Kikwang, Seo Inguk, and Im Siwan started out as idols before seeing any of their dramas.

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Oooh great post @ally-le!*clap clap*

Thank you for defending actor-dols. They get so much hate for no reason at all - what matters is that one is able to carry their role. It's not like all actors are better than all idols in any role.

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Glad that we have such a discussion post @ally-le. I don't have horse in this race so I don't get the hate or opposition toward idol actors. Acting is such a hard occupation to get in and get by that aspiring actors worldwide try various paths to get a chance. And with agencies system in SK rookies often have no say in how they will debut, Gong Seung Yeon was prepared to debut as idol but started as actress in the end, Lee Joon auditioned as actor from beginning, but ended in idol group, and frankly is hard to say if he has an acting career if not for his idol status at first, same with Seo In Guk.
And frankly in the entertainment industry talent is least important thing to get by, all you need is luck, good look and good connections, after all any of us can name plenty of names with miniscule acting abilities but plenty of success and popularity and none of this names would idols.

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From my observance, most of hates for idol acting is that their companies got them the chance to feature in the drama, and somehow PR their character too much that get negative attention.
One rare case is Seo Kang Joon in Cheese In the Trap, his character in Cheese is 2nd male lead only but got too much focus, it's not his fault (maybe not his company either, but just PD's decisions) but fans of the webtoon and the lead actor bash him...

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Not necessary, there's always a lot of lamenting over declining quality even after just news of casting idol in upcoming drama are released.

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The connection angle reminds me of the Life Bar ep I watched with Key and Minho with the actresses Oh Na-ra and Jin Seo-yeon.
Minho shared a story about how he was able to get an audition and Jin Seo-yeon asked him if it was really that easy.

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"I actually preferred the younger portrayals of the star-crossed, manipulated king and his young queen. He played the immature and jealous king with so much heart that I didn’t hate him, I really felt sorry for him."His intense gazes and his voice charged with emotion were really something. I wouldn't have minded if Kim Min-jae and Kim So-hyun had had more screen time together.

I completely agree with you. And also with what you said about Yook Sung-jae. "His irreverent behavior towards his elders never felt disrespectful or rude, but cheeky and endearing." He is one of my favourite idol actor. I've seen him in THE VILLAGE and SCHOOL 2015, too.

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I think, other idols who excel in acting are Park Hyung-shik, Im Si-wan and Kim Dong-Joon (he was awesome in BLACK) from the same boy band, ZEA.

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Yook Seung Jae is definitely scene stealer in SCHOOL 2015.
He steals the whole show from the twins and Nam Joo Hyuk! Hahaha....

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Thank you for writing this @ally-le. I'm especially fond of Key's character in Lookout and watch for his next role as well as Kim Min Jae's.

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As I know nothing whatsoever about idols, I'm always surprised when someone brings it up. For example, I loved Bomi in BTLIOF (very high on my list of favourite characters in that drama) and had no idea she was in a group until you just mentioned it.

To add another idol to your list, I really liked Ro Woon in Fox Bride Star. He did a great job as a very likeable second lead.

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I didnt know that Kim Min Jae is (was?) an idol until this post? I thought he is just a talented rookie actor. He was fantastic in Goblin. These few years, we probably got more talented idol actors debuted as an actor and some of them are so good that I don't think idol-actor tag is appropriate from them tbh.

But there was a phase when we got way too many untalented ones getting major roles/lead and failed spectacularly. Not to mention fans who get a bit defensive over oppar/unnie in the comment section. While I'm glad she/he is a hard working person, I still need to see the result on that hard work translate on screen or at least not break the flow.
Do I care if she/he is an idol-actor/ model-actor/rookie actor? No. As long as you are good in that role.

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Kim Min Jae is not an idol. He was an idol trainee but quit to pursue acting. One advantage Kim Min Jae has over non-idol-actors is he can dance.

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ohhh..ok.. No wonder.
So, he is like Lee Jongsuk, Gong Seungyeon then.

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@ally-le: such nice writing! I never thought of idols when the theme of this month for scene stealers came out (my bad!). It was a nice appreciation towards the idols for their efforts. I really wish they (the one that acts good) have many more opportunities to continue acting and get recognition in their acting career!!!!

Speaking of which, HIGH KICKS will forever be the series of dramas with MOST idols-turn-scene-stealers that catch audience attention from their (first) actings. I can name several:
- Highkick 1: Chan Sung - 2PM, Kim Bum - Super Junior, Shin Ji - Kyote... (I love them all!)
- Highkick 2: Hwang Jung Eum, Yoo In Na ((i don't remember their group names), Lee Ki Kwang - Beast (please watch his cuts for his puppy love for Jung Eum haha),...
- Highkick 3: Krystal F(x) and Seung Yoon Winners (I don't watch this show much but I don't think they are scene-stealers though!).

Another series are DREAM HIGH 1,2 that stars many idols. I only watch the first one, but don't really adore Suzy - Miss A and Eun Jung - Tara, but IU vs Woo Young and 2PM Teak Yeon are really really cute!

And I CAN NOT NOT name REPLY 1997 with their idol scence stealers (I'm sorry if any one get fed of me mentioning this drama every chance I've got!):
- Eum Ji Won - Sechkies: the scene he gave Yoo Jung earphone, when he is scared of the girls fighting, when he gets caught watching xx,... haha funny.
- Seo Il Gook: he is lead but he is really an idol turn actor. I can not speak enough of him in this, but Reply 1997 really starts all the rambles I have about him here!!!!
- Jeong Eun Ji - Apink: can she be any crazier? Is she just being herself? I just cant believe a rookie idol turn actress can act like that!!!! When she sobs hearing her dad getting sick, when she realizes who she actually loves,...
- Hoya: the very 2nd lead that deserves a standing ovation! He silently stays as best friend with Yoon Jae, and is the one friend that Si Won can honestly speak her thoughts,... The many times that he confesses jokingly... I wish he has more in-depth characters like that in future to show off his acting skills.

Of the same chain, we have Reply 1994's Baro, Reply 1988's Hye Ri, that also get acknowledge for their acting!

Ahhh I think I still forgot some big names... :D

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Forgive me for many grammar mistakes, I really rushed out the names before I forgot!

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Loved this ❤️❤️

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HIGH KICK 1 & 2 (minus the ending) are my all-time favorites!!! 👍👍

I think Chansung hadnt even debuted with 2PM yet when he started starring in HK1? He was hilarious! And Kim Bum (as Kim Bum bff of the MinHo character) isn't in SuJu unless you meant Kim Kibum but I don't remember seeing him there. KiKwang was still called JB then, always in wife-beaters crushing on his friend's fake tutor hehehe

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Oh my!!!! I'm so sorry for mixing up Kim Bum and Kim Ki Bum. You are right!!!! Kim Bum (Min Ho's bff) is in High Kick and he is not an idol turn actor.
Kim Ki Bum (Super Junior) is in SHARP with Hee Chul (his group mate), I was thinking of SHARP too, but it was not that much of a hit (I personally adore it!) and they are not "scene stealers" there, that's why I didn't mention this drama.

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I just recently became familiar with Hoya from Dancing High and I need to watch something he’s in now. He’s a sweetheart and super talented and worked harder than any of the coaches on that show, except maybe Gikwang.

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I haven't watched Dancing High. He was in Radiant office as well, but not much show time. I recommend Reply 1997 for thousands of reasons, and he is one. His character is truly heart-wrenching!

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What a brilliant write up, @ally-le. I haven't seen most of the dramas you've referred to here but I have seen the actors in others and liked them. I'll add these to my ever-growing watch-list.

Btw, I would pay to read your written work, since it's already been one of my Friday OT staples! Thanks again for the lovely read.

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How truly flattering! 🤗

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@ally-le I loved this so much. You’ve nailed picking some of the best idol scene stealers out there.
The other ones on the top of my head right now are Eun Jin won and Hoya who were incredible in RR1997.
And for mains I’d say Eunji, Junho, Park Hyung Sik, UEE, D.O, Seo In Guk ... I’m sure I’m forgetting many 😂

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Doojoon!

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Yes, yes, YES! I'm no Kpop fan and the only reason I recognize idols is because of their excellent acting performances in dramas. Who's D.O.? I only know the actor, Do Kyung Soo who appeared in a number of tear-jerking Korean movies. Who's V? I cried for the adorable, lovable Han Sung. And so on.

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D.O. = Do Kyung Soo. ;-)

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😂 @pakalanapikake That was a rhetorical question

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Hi Ally! Thank you for this!

I was very surprise to see Leeki/Kikwang/ Gikwang instead of Doo Joon. But I loved how you wrote about him. And you have seen him in Circle before you knew him as an idol.

He first ventured into cameos and variety shows, which made me as a fan worry,given the biases against idol-actors. But after his KBS Special, I didn't have to worry about him.

For the longest time my favorite Leeki drama has always been his KBS Special My Friend is Still Alive. Brought me to tears. Just in case some Beanies want to watch, here's the link for KBSWORLD https://youtu.be/tGj7b29zQk0

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😍 MFISA was my first Kikwang's drama - i didnt even he's an idol until i watched Circle 😂😂😂

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Oohhh, I’ll have to watch this! Thanks! Doo-joon is already established, and when I think of scene-stealers, I think of unknowns really. But I actually already did a piece (kind of) on Doo-joon, time to share the others with the world! http://www.dramabeans.com/2018/05/dramas-and-food-and-then-there-was-lets-eat-2/

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I am one proud fan - since many non kpop fans like Doo Joon and Gikwang AND for successfully hand hold and usher you into Highlight.

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That you did!

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Woah I had to say, what a resume @ally-le ! Also that honestly there should be no prejudice against people having one career but pursuing another. I know tonnes of people not pursuing what they have studies yet many people have issues with idol-actors. I think this comes from earlier few people who weren't really good actors but the main person in their groups so they were pushed to acting too. However, I see even those idols improving now. It isn't necessary that everyone is good at sth they are starting to work in. But yes I guess there are many idols who told their agencies beforehand that they would like to pursue acting so many of them are more naturally talented than the others.

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Also to add I guess most idols these days do get acting classes as well when they are trained that is why perhaps the newer lot is good at it.

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I just have lived a little, that’s all! And I keep saying “yes” to things. Which actually is why I can’t watch as many kdramas as I’d like!

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nice write up, @ally-le!

my first foray into Kpop was because of Eric when i first watched Que Sera Sera early on in my Kdrama watching career. in my quest to find all of his dramas/movies, i discovered that he belonged to the (1st generation) idol group, Shinhwa.

then came Lee Jun Ki, after i watched him in Time Between Dog & Wolf - researching him informed me that he was huge solo singer idol (before the Hallyu Wave) and at that time, was just about to get out of the military.

my daughter had been listening to Kpop since the mid 2000s, so it brought something we would have in common, as she would be amazed that i knew who a particular idol was (later, the likes of TOP in Iris; Eun-ji and Hoya in Reply 1997, L in Shut Up Flower Boy Band, and all the idols in Dream High).
: D

some are better actors than others, of course - and you mentioned the stand-outs - but i am constantly impressed as time goes on how good some of the idols are/ have become at acting. you'd think it'd be enough that they can sing, but a lot of them became "triple threats" = good at singing, dancing and acting...

wow, just like the Hollywood olden days, right?
; )

but in the US, it's no longer necessarily the case, is it (as back in the "olden days" - singer/dancer/actors/actresses)... gotta give these korean idols a helluva lotta credit for their talent and skills on all of these fronts!

'course, they were worked like crazy from their early teens to debut, but i'm glad it paid off for them -- hopefully most of them, if acting is the path they ultimately pursue. they won't remain young idols forever... well, Eric is still an idol in my book... Shinhwa he was the main reason i went to Kcon LA in 2015 (my daughter went for GOT7 and Super Junior, et al) and even withstood the mosh pit for the concerts, omg... and it was so WORTH IT to see them all close up...
*swears off being a groupie (the oldest one there) ever since*

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Where's the like button when I need it? Seriously these posts need to have those, because I'd like to like your writing a hundred times Ally.
I'm just so glad you chose this topic on "a defense of the crazy super talented idol-actors who steal every scene they grace." as you've well said ^^
(Because I've had the similar old attitude as you until one day I realized how stubborn & rigid I was XD)

So I'm glad to read this today, I feel like this was a reminder for me as well ^^

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Thanks for tackling this topic @ally-le. I do agree with you.

I did start by having a reduced confidence in a character in the past because an idol acted that role, but I've since come around because there are so many good idol-actors now.

The one who blew me away and made me 'fall in love' with the character was Lee Jun Ho in Just Between Lovers/Rain or Shine. That was consummate acting. Through and through, I only saw the character, 'Lee Gang Doo', and not Lee Jun Ho. I ached with him and smiled with him and totally gave myself over to that show because of the way he portrayed Gang Doo. One of the most compelling performances that I've had the privilege to enjoy. 😄

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Aw, I just commented about Junho. I thought Beanies forgot about that talented cutiepie, but JBL love is still strong. I'm glad!

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So glad I'm not alone in loving Jun Ho @ladykrueger! 😆

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He was the lead in JBL, really cementing his career as an actor, but it was Chief Kim that first made me notice him. I couldn’t believe he was an idol, like “you’re telling me this arrogant guy in a suit is an idol?” Then I looked up his filmography and learned he had been learning his craft in movies, and taking acting lessons.

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Junho was a scene stealer in Chief Kim.

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Jun Ho blew me away in Just Between Lovers. I went in with no expectation and loved every scene he was in (actually I loved the whole thing :D).

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@luzitania Meeee toooo!!!

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Gluttonous Psychopath FTW!

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LOL. @pakalanapikake, I've yet to watch Chief Kim, to which I presume you're referring, for Jun Ho's binge eating scenes. Come to think of it, he ate rarely and little in JBL! I believe he also lost weight to look more in keeping with Gang Doo.

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@growingbeautifully, CHIEF KIM was the first show I saw Junho perform in. His gyrations with Namgoong Min were a riot. "Gluttonous Psychopath" was Chief Kim's pet name for his frenemy, even when he wasn't eating. Later, I read so many Beanie raves over JUST BETWEEN LOVERS that I watched it after it aired, and was thoroughly impressed with his performance in a tragically serious production. I sat through all of GREASY MELO / WOK OF LOVE for the bromance between Junho's chef and the righteous loan shark played by Jang Hyuk. I loved the little Chinese restaurant that could, especially its "Shin Saimdang Room" papered in 50,000-Won notes.

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@pakalanapikake A pity I couldn't get into Greasy Melo, even for Jun Ho. I had fallen in love with the character Lee Gang Doo, but not the actor (fortunately!). Still, I do think I might watch Chief Kim, although I'm not enthused by Namgoong Min.

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As a JBL trash, I have to mention Junho. He was phenomenal in all his projects this year.

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I know Yoon Doo-Joon is a lead, but he is my favorite idol-actor. 3 seasons of Let's Eat and all of them were great.

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Hmmm, I think he’s my favorite too. Now, will someone put that boy in a full length sageuk when he gets back from his military stint??? Pretty please???

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Couldn't get enough of YDJ as King Sejong in SPLISH SPLASH LOVE, eh @ally-le? Me neither. ;-)

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Splish Splash love was a mini-drama. I need a full-on 16 hours of Yoon DJ rocking the king's robe.

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SPLISH SPLASH LOVE was a terrific proof of concept that Yoon Doo-joon, like Ji Hyun-woo in QUEEN IN-HYUN'S MAN and Do Kyung-soo in 100 DAYS MY PRINCE, can cut the sageuk mustard. Rather than being stuck at court endlessly wrangling with "Jeonha"-ing opponents, I'd rather see him play a seja or other role with more dynamic possibilities. But I understand where you're coming from. YDJ looks great in Joseon hanbok. ;-)

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@pakalanapikake forgive my ignorance, but what is a seja? I tried googling it and got nada. 🙈

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Seja means crown prince, if I’m not mistaken. So, a cheeky prince who stirs trouble up in the palace is what she may be imagining. A king is too stuffy and has to deal with court politics all day. We’d want a Doo-joon who would sneak out of the palace incognito as a nobleman with his hair attractively pulled back and wooing unsuspecting commoners.

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@ally-le Ahhh perfect! I am down for that! (watching that drama. I could also get down with the wooing though it really wouldn't take much).

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How come we can't LIKE posts??? Pls consider this my LIKE!

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I will! Thanks!

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Thank you Ally for this article! I am not sure you have experienced the same fear for some Beanies' reaction of "you forgot my oppa!" as Javabeans and Girfirday did when they published their article Top 10 Idol Actors😆
http://www.dramabeans.com/2017/01/top-10-idol-actors-in-dramaland/

My curiosity about some of the idols actors of dramas I have watched introduced me to the world of K-pop. There is certainly a new generation of excellent idol actors in Dramaland as Beanies have listed them, but for me it is particularly satisfying to see some of the idols grow as actors. One example that comes to mind recently is L and Go Ara. Before Miss Hammurabi, I have not watched L but heard mostly negative reviews about him as an actor, and I really could not get into any of Go Ara's roles. Their interpretations made me embrace their characters in MH and led me to finish my very first legal drama ever.

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I'm just watching Miss Hammurabi now, but I think both L and Go Ara are excellent in it. I didn't like her at all in Black - or maybe I should say I didn't like her character - but she's great here.

You're right, there's something satisfying about seeing actors/idols get better in their jobs.

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Despite many problematic aspects of Hwarang, it was during maybe Go Ara's 6th crying scene that I decided to drop the drama. I dislike watching excessive sobbing in dramas, and crying scenes really accentuate each actor's maturity.

Go Ara's character in Miss Hammurabi was frustrating in the beginning, but what makes a good judge is the essential questions the show is trying to address. I fully rooted for her once her character starts to examine her own suitability to be a good judge.

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I watched L and Go Ara in their previous effort, and never thought high of their acting abilities, but anyhow watched Ms Hammurabi because theme interested me and Sung Dong Il. L impressed me with his progress, he was really wooden before (Master's Sun was one my first drama, and he was absolutely horrible in it) but Ara, well this role suited her, she still not very good actress, but she fit cheerful, earnest characters like this one.

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I didn't even realize that L was in Master's Sun! Now looking up his filmography I see that he was also in Cunning Single Lady which I had also watched but don't remember him in 😅

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He played younger version of So Ji Sub, and in Cunning Single Lady, he was male lead secretary/driver, already made some progress but for me has rather irritating voice tone, really nasal. It seems he must invest a lot in himself because he sounds different in Ms. Hammurabi.

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@kimbapnoona, cc: @ally-le,

I think I first saw L / Kim Myung-soo in RULER: MASTER OF THE MASK, and thought he did a pretty good job in a drama that was not so hot. He was a zillion times better in MISS HAMMURABI, a much better show. At some point I saw him in SHUT UP FLOWER BOY BAND -- which I initially watched for Lee Min-ki after his tour de force in BECAUSE THIS LIFE IS OUR FIRST.

A couple of months ago, I watched CUNNING SINGLE LADY, and was surprised to spot L, along with another young idol (from 5urprise) named Seo Kang-joon. SKJ blew our collective doors off in 2018 in ARE YOU HUMAN TOO and THE THIRD CHARM. I had first seen him in the sageuk HWAJUNG / SPLENDID POLITICS, but it was his yangban frenemy Han Joo-wan who made a bigger impression on me at the time. Maybe SKJ picked up some of Cha Seung-won's incredible eye acting by osmosis over the course of his 25 episodes as Gwanghaegun. ;-) Kim Jae-won was dandy as the future King Injo, too. The cast was full of wonderful veteran actors, which would have made for a great learning experience. My hat is off to Seo Kang-joon for his amazing performances this year. They have been nothing short of spell-binding.

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I vaguely remember this piece, probably because I was on the periphery of Kpop (actually, Kpop wasn’t even on my radar) and hadn’t watched more than a handful of kdramas when it was published. I’ve still only seen a couple of them since. So, I don’t really have a large lexicon of kdramas to draw from as most Beanies probably do and I expect to miss a lot of actors and actresses. I just write because I like to and hope a few other people appreciate it too.

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Bravo! 👏🏻👏🏻I was also closed minded but have come to realise that there are idols who naturally switch into acting careers.

I do think it’s easier to like the guy idols - girls seem to earn a lot more hate. Personally, I think directing and writing has a lot to do with it, not just acting chops. We all know guys get better roles in dramaland.

1) Case Study 1: Bona. She was forgettable in The Best Hit, but she was brash and lovable in Lingerie Girls Generation. I don’t think she was ready for the lead role In Your House Helper (which I ended up dropping out of boredom), but I’ll give her a chance in the future depending on the projects she takes.

2) Case Study 2: Suzy. More controversial one. Again, depends on the show. I liked her in Gu Family Book, Dream High and While You Were Sleeping, but I couldn’t stand her in Uncontrollably Fond and dropped it after the first episode. I hope she gets projects in the future that capitalise on her strengths and hide her weakness... maybe a music drama.

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I remember being really impressed with the young king and queen too. I had no idea who they were and finally stopped in the middle of an ep to look them up.

I had no idea who Bomi was but I loved her dry delivery in Because This Life. She has a great talking voice, I should look up her singing.

I really want to watch Key in something because he gets such praise. And now that I know who Shinee is I am curious about Onew in DOTS.

Circle is on my list and never connected it with the guy from Why Not Dancer. And want to watch Just Between Lovers this December, though honestly no clue who the actor is.

Good point about how many actors used to have to be a triple threat.

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Watch Drinking Solo! Key is a total scene-stealer there.

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Key in Lookout is my favorite.

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Jun-ho in JBL, and my first intro to him was the Beanie island party with this very poppy kpop song: https://youtu.be/VrCTUi_7NzM

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This is the first time I have heard someone have no idea who Kim So Hyun, the young queen, was.

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I only started watching dramas in 2017.
Everyone was new to me and sometimes still are, lol. Especially if I now add in shows from China and Japan.
I can't say for a fact but in real life I do not know anyone that would know her because they do not watch dramas.

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2016 for dramas.
2017 when I started listening to some kpop.

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I think people usually have an issue with idol actors that just land a lead role in a major drama out of nowhere because it's kind of like nepotism and they usually are horrible. Most of the idol actors that I think are good usually start off in small roles and then go the usual route of working their way up, so they do put in the work - Park Hyungsik is a great example imo. What I don't get about the hate that idol actors get is that there are actors/actresses who only act who don't do much better than them.

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I forgot one of my favorite Idol acting moments. G Dragon in the Infinity Challenge movie. When he realized it was not just a comedy skit.🤣

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Hahahahaha you're so right!! And when he had to watch himself on the screen, poor baby was so embarrassed. He was super sexy in the movie though, in a style he isn't normally in.

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It made me laugh when he was with Ha Ha waiting between scenes. He is just sitting there quietly and Ha Ha has to remind him that there is still a camera filming him for variety and pulls down the boom and suggest he should sing.

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I want to thank whoever put that Leeki pic up there <3

Also, thanks @ally-le for bringing up these scene stealers who deserve everyone's love! We were just talking about Bomi yesterday, I really want to see her in something else soon!

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I do too! That’s a great pic! I love it.

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I really liked the idol-actors names above. Most the time I have no problem with casting idols in roles suitable for their talent. Yet increasingly more talentless (acting wise) idols are securing leads that should go to better actors. What’s more frustrating is PD’s, costars, and viewers can’t even objectively criticize their need for improvement. Once a lead, even if everyone thought he/she was terrible, agencies find it unacceptable to offer said star support roles, so they just keep them in a league that they aren’t fit to play.

I don’t know many idols. If you fooled me to think you weren’t an idol, you’re on my A list, yes you Seo In Guk, Lee Joon, DO, and half of ZEA.

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But that's on PD's, idols agencies and idols themselves don't have much clout in dramaland, that's why idols like JYJ can still get roles in drama, while being basically exiled from music shows and varieties.
And if PD's are okay with lowering quality of acting in exchange for whatever benefit crappy actor bring (PPL, Naver mentions?) it speaks more of them not idols who just looking for job opportunities.

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I don’t blame the idols personally. Most have no power to choose. I won’t watch them though.

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Hi Ally, great post!
Remember also our dear IU (although I am not sure if I should, since when acting she uses her real name), but whereas I cannot say anything magnificent about her in other dramas, because either I haven't seen those (moonlight lovers or wherever the name was, You are the best and the Producers) or she was just ok (Pretty man and Dream high), I was mesmerized by her in My Mister. She was absolutely fantastic, but I know... maybe that's why you didnt mention her, she was the lead and not a secondary character stealing the show... sorry 😑
Nevertheless, as a first Idol and second an actress, I must say I personally like her as an actress first, mostly after My Mister.
Anyway, the other dramas you mentioned... I haven't seen them, but if I would, I will pay attention to your details. Thanks for sharing!!!!

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IU is a great actress, I agree, but she’s been leading her shows recently, so didn’t make my very arbitrary definition of scene-stealer. I still haven’t seen My Ahjussi (don’t kill me!). 🙃

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I won't kill you 😂
But maybe I will torture you for a while until you watch it.
It is like... you just have to watch it yourself.
On the other hand, I hope you are doing ok.
Take care and greetings to your family😍

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Echoing other posts earlier:

Lee Jun Ho.

Love him.

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Loved this @ally-le , I thought your point about how triple threats in Hollywood are celebrated was an apt one ~ it’s interesting that the opposite is true in kdrama land.

Great write up, and congrats on getting published! 😘

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LOVE this @ally-le. But *slightly* hurt you also didnt mention Gene Kelly for old hollywood. But Danny Kaye was there so all is forgiven

All jokes aside. Totally agree. I'm personally not the biggest kpop fan so it does come as a shock to me when i find these amazingly good-looking young «actors» are actually «idols». I say, watch for yourself and use your own judgement!

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It’s my age (and early dementia) showing, I knew I was missing a great one! I’m glad you’ve forgiven me so quickly!

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thank you for a wonderful that's just what i think article! they are all so good but i especially loved Key!

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@ally-le Thank you for giving credit to our baby maknae Yook Sung-jae!! I don't know if you listen to BtoB's music, but Sung-jae has the most beautiful voice I've ever heard. BtoB is known for their powerful and emotional vocals, and even though he's still really young, Sung-jae's voice is already very mature and developed. When he was filming Goblin, BtoB was in the middle of promotions in Japan, and he had to work really hard to stay dedicated to his music and his group while also putting in everything he could for the drama. In every acting role he has, Sung-jae delivers very good performances for his limited experience, and on top of it, he continues to sing like an angel. BtoB adores Sung-jae as their lovely and precious youngest, but he's already a powerhouse of an idol. I hope he can have a lead role in the future!

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Omg! Thank you! Again, DB editors are the best. Those screenshots! Did you even use one of mine? Maybe one. These are all so much better. And Gi-Kwang as the title shot—priceless! And my writing is really so much better after you all get through with my pieces! I tried to find those actors who were part of ensembles and couldn’t be called first or second leads even. But in their small role they made it something unique and unforgettable, just like a scene-stealer would do! Also, I haven’t seen a ton of dramas, so I’m sure there are many others that I’ve missed!

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@ally-le Great write-up as always. I knew nothing of kpop and idols when I entered the world of kdrama. Okay, I still know nothing about kpop except some actors I like seem to spend an inordinate amount of time making music and singing and dancing all over the place. Sung-jae, Key, and Bomi are some of my favorite scene stealers.

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I was like you, egads! It’s a strange world of kpop and kdrama, and how the idol machine works in Korea. For better or worse, it’s given us some amazing entertainers and how they do it all is downright dizzying. Thank you!

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Great article, @ally-le!

From the first generation of Hallyu stars, there's also Jo Hyun-jae who started out as a singer in the boy band Guardian (1 album in 1998), then moved into acting after doing a commercial. JHJ's "scene stealing" occurred during a casting call for his fourth drama, DAEMANG / GREAT AMBITION (2002-2003), which landed him his first sageuk role, and resulted in its being expanded for him. His princely aura led to roles in the film UNTOLD SCANDAL (2003) and dramas SONG OF THE PRINCE (2005-2006) and THE KING'S DAUGHTER, SU BAEK HYANG (2013-2014). He starred in 49 DAYS (2011), for which he sang the OST "Even If I Got Only One Day."

Seo Hyun-jin is another actor who started out as a Hallyu idol, the former lead singer of girl group M.I.L.K. I've read references to her scene-stealing in one of her dramas I haven't seen (FEAST OF THE GODS, perhaps?). Maybe she is not technically a scene-stealer because she was a main character in that show. Whatever. I'm just glad she went into acting. ;-)

Here's another idea for you: models who turned to acting. That would include Cha Seung-won, Song Seung-heon, and Kim Young-kwang, for starters. ;-)

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Model turned actor: Gong Yoo will always and forever be my bias here.

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I love this piece, @ally-le !! Thank you for the write up!!
When I saw this piece, my mind immediately when through a list of idol-actors/actresses that people have already forgotten that they once were or still are 'idols' because of their scene-stealing performances in dramas like the ones you've mentioned :) There are just so many of them now!!! My list goes:
Park Hyung Sik (of course, he will always be 1st and foremost for me-- SQUEE!), Im Si Wan, Kim Min Jae (his voice *swoon), Seo Hyun Jin, Hwang Jung Eum, Eugene, Bomi (love her in BTIOFL), EunJi, D.O., Seo In Guk, Choi Si Won, IU (although, was she ever considered as an 'idol'? Many see her as a true and self-made artist not 'idol'-- and I agree), Baro, JunHo, Eric Mun, Yoon Kye Sang, Kim Dong Jun....
The list goes on.....

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Oh, just saw news about Choi Si Won picking up another drama. How did I forget about him? This crazy scene stealer in King of Drama and She Was Pretty is also humble enough to take small drama and movie roles at the height of his (pre-army) idol career.

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This was great @ally 🙂 I didn't know Kim MinJae was an idol until I read your post. He was the reason I kept watching Tempted about 4 eps longer than I should have.

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Uee and sooyoung are good idol actresses. I like them~

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Thank you for this list, I think you chose the idols-turned-actors really well. I knew some of them were idols but some were a total surprise for me at times when I found out, like Gi-kwang. I remember seeing him in Monster and was sad when his character 'grew up' and was replaced by older actor. Also his character in Cirlce was so lovable yet complex, he became one of the many reasons why I liked the show so much.

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Thanks for bringing this up! I really feel for the idol-turned-actors/actress because I think they face a lot of harsh criticism. Not only do they have their busy idol life promoting with their group but they have to film for a few months straight. How do they survive??

If we take away the idol title, they really are no different than actors/actresses. Some were awful at the beginning but they improved over time. Some are hit or miss. Some are crazy talented. Some sadly are just a pretty face (but hey, at least they got something going for them) and sometimes I don't mind watching a pretty face if they're ... not too horrible.

Some idols I like/respect include:
Yoon Doon Joon (always knew him as highlights leader but never thought he was crazy talented, I kept watching radio romance for him especially because of his sad hurt eyes!!)
Junho - loved him in just between lovers (if it wasn't obvious from my icon, but I think rather than natural talent, Junho really had to work hard)
UEE - not a huge fan, but she has come such a far way you're beautiful with some great dramas under her belt
KEY - loved him in drinking solo!! That role was perfect for him
Eunji - i love the vibe she brings to her characters
Joy - I do think she should have started with smaller roles rather than go straight to the main ones... slowly build her career, but I just love joy... so I guess I am biased haha, hoping she will improve because I do think she has potential
hyungsik and im shi wan - back when I was into ze:a I really thought dongjun would become the big star, but these two really surprised me!

I'm sure there's more I missed but it's late and I'm tired.

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Completely agree that certain idol actors are more than just a pretty face! A perfect example for me was DO. Before I saw him in It's Okay That's Love in 2014, I had no idea whatsoever about EXO. His delivery of acting at that time gave me the impression that he was actually a veteran. Being in entertainment myself, I was really surprised.

Another good idol actor I would applaud is Eunji from A-Pink, or Hyori! They nailed their parts in the Reply series. Loved them there!

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It looks like I need to expand my idol-watching to DO! He’s mentioned fondly throughout these comments!

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You won’t regret it.

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I don't know many idols, but I can often instinctively tell when an actor is an idol (I always look it up to check my hunch).

And it's never because their acting is bad - it's because I see a young actor with incredible charisma (especially for what seems to be their young age). I'm sure there are many idols trying their hand at acting who have been unremarkable and haven't stood out to me, but those that have - their charisma is no joke, and I have no doubt that they either were recruited as idols because of natural charisma or it was cultivated in their years as trainees then performers. Either way, it often gives them this x factor that makes them stand out to me when they act.

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What you say is true! Great performers have a charisma that crosses genres which is why if you’re born to entertain, there’s little that can deter you from that. I guess it shouldn’t surprise us at all that they could be amazing in any capacity that involves performance!

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Chansung was really good in both "Queen of Seven Days" and "What's Wrong With Secretary Kim"--he made me cry in the former and laugh in the latter. Had no idea he was an idol. (I don't follow K-pop at all).

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